Former fire commissioner to fill in on interim basis in Lee

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TOWN OF LEE — Former town Board of Fire Commissioners member James Mondrick is returning on an interim basis, to fill the seat vacated by the recent passing of longtime member Brian Mandryck.

The board on Monday night appointed Mondrick to the seat for the remainder of 2020, at a meeting conducted through remote online audio/video participation due to the COVID-19 situation. The board has five seats overall.

Among other meeting topics, the board reviewed impacts for the Lee Center and Lake Delta volunteer fire departments relating to COVID-19.

• For filling the seat that had been held by Mandryck, who passed away Feb. 13 after battling cancer, the board in March had opted to wait on a decision because its four current members were not all available at that time to provide input.

Board members last month indicated three people had expressed interest in the vacant seat. But town fire district secretary Linda Valade said Monday that Mondrick had submitted the only written notice of interest. Mondrick also had personally appeared at last month’s meeting to offer his services. He formerly was a 10-year member of the board.

In another action stemming from Mandryck’s passing, the board appointed member William Young as vice chairman. Mandryck in January had been selected to continue in that position after also holding it in 2019.

The town fire district election in December will decide who serves on the board in 2021 to compete the final year that was left on Mandryck’s 5-year term.

The board, which manages fire protection in the taxpayer-
funded Lee fire district, oversees the Lee Center Volunteer
Fire Department while also contracting with the independent Lake Delta Volunteer Fire Department.

• Because of COVID-19 concerns, the Lee Center fire department has canceled training activities until further notice, Chief Joseph Kieffer told the board.

Department members are gathering only when responding to calls, said Kieffer, and
when doing so are respecting other people’s space in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

Board Chairman Tracy Carpenter asked Kieffer about procedures for disinfecting the Lee Center firehouse such as door handles and trucks, including whether the department can handle it in-house or “do we need to hire someone” to do so.

Kieffer said that once a week he has spraying items such as door handles, and when department members have been there for calls. Otherwise, there “should be nobody there,” he added.

Carpenter said if the situation becomes “too overwhelming,” he is offering for the board to “look into someone to do it” if needed.

• For the Lake Delta Fire Department, some physical exams were canceled because of COVID-19 and will be rescheduled, said Chief Larry Tamburrino.

Carpenter asked if the department has been able to get required supplies such as disinfectants and masks. As of now, there are no problems, replied Tamburrino.

But Tamburrino also observed new guidelines from the Department of Health are calling for department members to wear masks in vehicles when responding to calls. The department will “probably go through masks faster” as a result, he said, adding “we’re looking into that.”

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